How will ‘West Side Story’ fare at the box office?

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Ariana DeBose plays Anita in Steven Spielberg’s version of “West Side Story.” Photo by Niko Tavernise.

Steven Spielberg’s version of “West Side Story” is opening this weekend, and while the film has received strong reviews, it may find trouble at the box office. 

Because so many movies’ release dates were pushed by the pandemic, it’s extra crowded at the holiday box office this year. And “West Side Story” will likely appeal to an older audience, the group that’s least likely to venture out to see movies in-person. 

Disney is hoping the film will remain in theaters a long time, so that by the time the Oscars roll around, the movie will have made a lot of money. But if “West Side Story” doesn’t have a strong opening weekend, it may never get that opportunity.  

“West Side Story” is a film Disney inherited from Fox, and the budget is allegedly only $100 million, but it likely costs more than that in actuality, so even breaking even could be a struggle. 

Other recent musicals including “Cats” and “Dear Evan Hansen” bombed at the box office recently. A lot of people have high hopes for “West Side Story,” especially since this version includes updates to the story that make it more culturally aware and has all Latinx actors playing Puerto Ricans, unlike in the 1961 original.



Kaitlin Parker